On the importance of admitting error:
“The experience of Bush-style governance, together with revulsion at the way Karl Rove turned refusal to admit error into a political principle, is the main reason those now-famous three words from Mr. Edwards — “I was wrong” — matter so much to the Democratic base. The base is remarkably forgiving toward Democrats who supported the war. But the base and, I believe, the country want someone in the White House who doesn’t sound like another George Bush. That is, they want someone who doesn’t suffer from an infallibility complex, who can admit mistakes and learn from them.I would add that Edwards was shrewd to apologize for his support of the Iraq War in 2005. Senator Clinton however would appear to be insincere and pandering if she apologized at this point. That’s not necessarily fair because I believe Edwards’ initial support of the war and his later apology were both acts of political expediency over principle. Nonetheless, that’s the way it is.
And there’s another reason the admission by Mr. Edwards that he was wrong is important. If we want to avoid future quagmires, we need a president who is willing to fight the inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom on foreign policy, which still — in spite of all that has happened — equates hawkishness with seriousness about national security, and treats those who got Iraq right as somehow unsound. By admitting his own error, Mr. Edwards makes it more credible that he would listen to a wider range of views.”
Krugman had this gem about John McCain:
“Senator John McCain, whose reputation for straight talk is quickly getting bent out of shape, appears to share the Bush administration’s habit of rewriting history to preserve an appearance of infallibility.Although Krugman’s primary focus was Senator Clinton’s current political position, I thought this anecdote about Rudy Guiliani was the best part of his column:
Last month Senator McCain asserted that he knew full well what we were getting into by invading Iraq: 'When I voted to support this war,' Mr. McCain said on MSNBC, 'I knew it was probably going to be long and hard and tough, and those that voted for it and thought that somehow it was going to be some kind of an easy task, then I’m sorry they were mistaken.'
But back in September 2002, he told Larry King, ‘I believe that the operation will be relatively short,” and “I believe that the success will be fairly easy.””
“Here’s an incident from 1997. When New York magazine placed ads on city buses declaring that the publication was ‘possibly the only good thing in New York Rudy hasn’t taken credit for,’ the then-mayor ordered the ads removed — and when a judge ordered the ads placed back on, he appealed the decision all the way up to the United States Supreme Court.When I contemplate the leadership qualities of Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Rudy Guiliani I want to cry for my country.
Now imagine how Mr. Giuliani would react on being told, say, that his choice to head Homeland Security is actually a crook. Oh, wait.”